Unless the Washington Redskins get a name change, the team will struggle to get approval from the Obama administration for the construction of a new stadium in Washington, D.C.
City leaders have been in talks with the team to bring them back to D.C. by building a new stadium on the site of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, where the team played before moving to FedEx Field in Landover, Md. The stadium is located about two miles east of the Capitol and on land owned by the National Park Service (NPS) and leased by the city. The city's lease expires in 22 years and would need to be renewed before a new stadium is built, an action that would need approval from Congress.
By 2018, it is expected the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and land will go largely unused when D.C. United is expected to move to a new stadium. Events DC, which operates the property, is studying how to best use the land in the future. The federal lease on the land restricts the use of it to stadium purposes, recreation and parking.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, whose department oversees the NPS, told D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser that unless the Redskins change their name, the Obama administration would not help to accommodate construction of a new stadium in Washington D.C.
Both Jewell and President Obama have objected to the Redskins moniker, saying that the name is offensive to Native Americans. “Personally, I think we would never consider naming a team the ‘Blackskins’ or the ‘Brownskins’ or the ‘Whiteskins.’ " Jewelll has said. "So, personally, I find it surprising that in this day and age, the name is not different.”
Obama has said that he would change the name of the team if he could.
D.C. and Redskins officials have not commented on these developments.
This is not the first time the team has faced challenges in regards to their name. Many members of Congress want the Redskins to change their name, and the team’s trademark was canceled by the Patent and Trademark Office, which called it offensive to Native Americans.